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A healthcare provider will look at breast tissue using a microscope to determine which type of breast cancer a woman has. The main type will be either invasive or non-invasive. Within those two categories, a woman may have a secondary type, such as infiltrating ductal carcinoma, Paget's disease of the nipple, and intraductal carcinoma.

An Introduction to the Different Types of Breast Cancer

There are two main breast cancer types -- invasive (moves into the surrounding tissue) or non-invasive (stays in the ducts or lobes). To determine which type a patient has, a healthcare provider performs a biopsy to look at breast tissue under a microscope. This allows the healthcare provider to look at the breast tissue cells for breast cancer and, if found, the type of cancer present.
Healthcare providers will often use infiltrating to mean the same thing as invasive. Some breast cancer types can also be named based on where the cancer starts. For example, ductal carcinoma is cancer that begins in the lining of the milk ducts while another type, lobular carcinoma, begins in the lobules where breast milk is produced.

Infiltrating Breast Cancer

Infiltrating breast cancers make up 70 to 80 percent of all breast cancer cases. The most common type of infiltrating breast cancer is infiltrating ductal carcinoma (also known as invasive ductal carcinoma). This type of breast cancer is found in approximately 60 percent of breast cancer cases. The second most common breast cancer type is infiltrating lobular carcinoma (also known as invasive lobular carcinoma), found in approximately 6 percent of breast cancer cases.
Other, less common, infiltrating types of breast cancer include:
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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